Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris (3rd right) pictured with Cabinet colleagues Hon. Ian Patches Liburd (2nd right) and Hon. Eugene Hamilton (2nd left) and CWWA officials.

The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, is urging participants to use the 28th Annual Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) Conference and Exhibition currently taking place in the Federation to explore and address the challenges Caribbean nations face in developing sustainable water strategies.

Prime Minister Harris was delivering the keynote address to regional ministers responsible for water, as well as water experts and international partners at a CWWA forum hosted in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on achieving water security in the Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The forum took place Tuesday at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, part of the larger CWWA conference running Oct. 14-18.

The prime minister indicated an urgent need has arisen to address water challenges “by identifying priorities for action at the highest political level, building on existing partnerships,” adding regional governments “welcome the heightened importance provided by UNESCO and CWWA in deploying their unique multi-disciplinary expertise — in science, culture, climate change, education, biodiversity resource preservation, knowledge management and information for decision-making — in addressing the multiplicity of challenges facing SIDS.”

The prime minister highlighted UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP), which he says provides expert guidance through initiatives and tools that promote sound governance and management of water resources in SIDS.

“We urge UNESCO-IHP, as the only intergovernmental programme of the United Nations (UN) system devoted to water research, water resources management, education and capacity-building, to accompany us in the Caribbean in integrating watershed and aquifer management, which incorporates the social dimension of water resources, and promotes and develops international research in hydrological and freshwater sciences,” he said.

Dr. Harris said Tuesday’s forum underlined his government’s commitment to work with all institutions for the good of all the Caribbean states.

The 28th annual CWWA Conference is being staged under the theme “Securing the Caribbean’s Future: Financing the Water and Waste Sectors.”